Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago White Sox Preview and Pick – Hernandez vs. Buehrle

Minnesota Twins (16-15) +130, o/u 9 at Chicago White Sox (15-16), 8:10 pm Eastern Wednesday
by Zman of Predictem.com

The Chicago White Sox, leaders of the AL Central for most of this young season until a recent six-game losing streak, look to regain that position when they host the Minnesota Twins in the middle game of a three-game set at US Cellular Field Wednesday night.

Baseball Sportsbooks are listing the White Sox and starting pitcher Mark Buehrle as -150 home chalk for Wednesday’s game, with a total of 9, while Minnesota and starter Livan Hernandez are getting around +135 as road underdogs.

Chicago broke its six-game losing streak, and in the process stopped the Twins’ five-game winning streak, with a 7-1 series-opening win Tuesday night. White Sox starting pitcher Gavin Floyd took a no-hitter into the 9th inning, and Chicago banged out 11 hits, which must be considered an offensive explosion, considering the ChiSox had scored a total of nine runs over their previous six games.

So going into Wednesday’s game, Minnesota sits atop the AL Central, one game ahead of the second-place White Sox.

The Twins have taken three of five games from Chicago so far this season, and these two division rivals split 18 games last year. Also, the o/u has gone 12-9-2 in those most recent 23 games in this series, which have averaged a healthy 10.7 runs per game.

This year, Minnesota is just 5-9 on the road, 9-12 as underdogs but 17-14 vs. the run line. Meanwhile, the White Sox are 8-6 at home this year, 7-6 as favorites and 18-13 vs. the run line.

In his most recent three starts, which includes a solid performance in an 11-1 Twins win over Detroit last Friday, Hernandez (4-1, 4.43, 1.45 WHIP this season) has allowed 12 ER and 29 baserunners (hits + walks) in 15 2/3 IP. Minnesota is 6-1 in Hernandez’ starts this season, the o/u 5-2.

This will be the first career start for Hernandez vs. the White Sox.

Meanwhile, Buehrle (1-3, 4,42, 1.39), in his last three starts, which includes a good outing in a 2-0 loss to Toronto last Friday, has given up eight ER and 24 BR in 21 IP. Chicago is 2-4 in Buehrle’s starts this year, the o/u 3-3.

Buehrle made two starts vs. the Twins last year, allowing four ER and 20 BR in 14 IP. The White Sox won both those games.

On the offensive side of this match-up, Minnesota ranks 29th in the majors in team OBP at .305, 25th in team slugging at .366, and is averaging 4.0 runs per game. Meanwhile, Chicago ranks 20th in OBP at .321, 18th in slugging at .394, but somehow is averaging a respectable 4.7 RPG.

The Twins bullpen has allowed three ER and 18 BR in its last five games, covering 15 IP, while the ChiSox pen has given up just one ER and 12 BR in its last five games, covering 10 1/3 innings of work.

The o/u is 15-16 in Minnesota games this season, which are averaging 8.3 total runs per, while the totals are 12-19 in Chicago games, which are averaging 8.6 runs per. Also, games played at US Cellular Field this year are averaging 9.1 total runs, after averaging 9.8 runs last year.

Zman’s Pick: I like the Sox tonight.